Vermont State Prison

Dublin Core


Vermont State Prison


adult corrections
penal institutions


Vermont opened its State Prison in 1809 in the town of Windsor. When the prison closed in 1875, it was the longest-running correctional institution in the United States. Documents in this collection include photographs, reports of State agencies, and media coverage of the prison's many scandals and newsworthy events.


Holly Allen, Middlebury College


Middlebury College




Mariel Edokwe, Bobby Sullivan, Rehan Zafar


Unless otherwise indicated, documents are in the public domain.



Collection Items

1870s photograph of Vermont State Prison inmates in prison yard by A.S. Vose
Inmates at the Vermont State Prison were required to march in lockstep (right hand on the shoulder of the inmate to the front, head turned to the side) to prevent fraternization. According to the Auburn Plan of prison management, inmates were not…

Correctional Institutions: Vermont State Comprehensive Planning Program (Central Planning Office, July 1964)
This report, commissioned by the State Central Planning Office, provides an overview of Vermont's correctional institutions, including the Vermont State Prison and the Weeks School, as of 1964.

Biennial Report of the Officers of the Vermont State Prison for the Term Ending June 30, 1924.
Both the prison superintendent and the physician acknowledged that overcrowding was a problem. The physician wrote that “the largest number of inmates in the history of this Institution is being cared for at the present
time, with a tendency to…

Biennial Reports of the Officers of the State Prison of Vermont for the years 1881-1894.
This series of biennial reports illuminates the administrative policies and practices of the Prison and reveals details about inmate diet, labor, and demographic information.

Biennial Report of the Vermont State Prison, 1901-02
Submitted in 1902 by soon-to-be-disgraced Superintendent E.W. Oakes, this report in no way acknowledges the maladministration that would come to light in the midst of Mary Rogers' imprisonment for capital murder in 1905. Oakes does acknowledges that…

Statistics of the Prisoners in the Vermont State Prison, July 1, 1908.
While lacking the prison superintendent's narrative report, this compilation of photographs, statistics, and tables is an excellent resource.

Biennial Report of the Superintendent of the Vermont State Prison for 1916-18.
In his section of the report, Prison Chaplain Parker C. Manzer noted “a decided decrease in the population of the institution.” He attributed that decline to “the present demand for labor and resulting rise in wages” and “the lessening of liquor…

Biennial Report of the Officers of the Vermont State Prison for the Term Ending June 30, 1922.
Two things stand out about the 1922 Biennial Report of the Vermont State Prison:

First, both the Superintendent and the Chaplain observe a change in institutional policy away from cruel punishments and toward what the Chaplain described as “the…

Biennial Report of the Officers of the Vermont State Prison for the two years ending June 30, 1908
This report contains reprints of photographs that reflect improvements to the Vermont State Prison that were likely made in response to the investigation of conditions at the Prison in 1904-05.

"Prison Reform in Vermont," St. Albans Weekly Messenger, November 23, 1905, p. 1
This excerpt clearly highlights the recognition of change that people wanted to happen in Vermont State Prisons. However seeing as this excerpt was created back in 1905, this shows how long it took for real reform to actually be implemented.
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